A Comment on National Leadership: No Choice -- Withdrawal Starts in '08
From an LA Times Op-ed, "No choice -- withdrawal starts in '08," by two Fellows at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government." Money quote:
No Choice -- Withdrawal Starts in '08
The U.S. simply doesn't have the military manpower to sustain current troop levels in Iraq.
[ . . . ] the driver is not conditions in Iraq or politics in the United States but the hard realities of Army and Marine Corps readiness. As the troops' extended 15-month tours of duty end, the Army and Marine Corps simply don't have more troops to replace them. The withdrawal will be, in effect, the flip side of the surge.
This "drawdown" should come as no surprise. [ . . . According to former CENTCOM Commander Army Gen. John P. Abizaid,] "When you look at the overall American force pool that's available, the ability to sustain that commitment is simply not something that we have right now with the size of the Army and the Marine Corps."
How is it possible that a nation with 300 million people, a $13 trillion GDP and a defense budget of more than $600 billion is unable to muster 30,000 additional troops and sustain the surge for even a full year? The bottom line is that the leaders responsible for our military -- the president, the secretary of Defense and Congress -- refused over the past six years (as their predecessors had before them) to recruit, train and equip more troops. Even after deciding to attack Iraq, this leadership neglected its duty to raise the forces required, until it was too late to affect the outcome.
The reasons are varied and complicated. [ . . . .]
No, the reasons are not varied and complicated at all: Our national civilian leadership has refused to encourage even its strongest supporters, if eligible [healthy heterosexuals 41-or-under], to volunteer for military service.
This is basic stuff.